A brief overview of "The Odyssey" by Homer.
Book 11: The Book of the Dead
New Major Characters
Anticleia and the Wives: Anticleia is Odysseus’ mother and in one in a line of dead wives who tell Odysseus their stories.
Agamemnon, Achilles, Ajax, and Heracles: Great men who each in turn told Odysseus their tales.
When Odysseus and his crew reached the River of Ocean they made their sacrifices to the dead and guarded the offering as the shadows of those long gone gathered. As instructed, Odysseus waited for Teiresias to drink from the blood and after he had gotten his fill, Teiresias made a prophesy; If his crew leaves the flock of the gods untouched on their journey home then all of them may make it to Ithaca, if not then Odysseus will reach home alone and on a foreign ship. He also spoke of the Suitors and the troubles they have caused and will cause if Odysseus is not expeditious.
Next a long line of dead wives each came to have their fill and in turn each told their stories. Here he met his mother, Anticleia, and Tyro, Antiope, Jocasta, and many more through which he learned of his mother’s death and his father’s despairing condition. Soon after dread Persephone sent the women spirits away and a host of once great men appeared before him. He spoke first to Agamemnon and learned of his wife’s terrible treachery, then to Achilles, scornful Ajax and Heracles, who spoke of his own misfortunes. While Odysseus yearned to speak with more spirits the great mass of them surrounded him and filled him with fear so he load his men on his ship and left.
Book 12: Scylla and Charybdis
New Major Characters:
Hyperion: Sun god who is angered by Odysseus’ crew and inevitably leads to their doom.
The Sirens: Nymphs who with their enchanting voices lure and trap men on their island.
Scylla and Charybdis: Two monsters, one, Scylla, has six heads and feeds on seamen from her craggy perch and two, Charybdis who perpetually spits and breaths in whirlpools.
With due warning from both Teiresias and Circe, the crew embarks again on their journey with a whole new list of dangers ahead of them. The first danger that they must endure is that of the Sirens, however Odysseus, according to Circe’s instruction, plugs his crew’s ears with beeswax and has himself bound tightly to the ship’s mast. Immediately following the temptation of the Sirens lays the pass in which Scylla and Charybdis linger.
In an attempt to avoid the spray and whirlpools of Charybdis the crew kept the ship tight to the opposing cliff in which Scylla hide. Odysseus tried fool heartedly to spy the creature and maim it before it could take any of his crew, but it was futile for he saw only too late the dangling legs of his crew above him. Shortly after emerging from such a dangerous pass the crew sights the island of Hyperion where the sun god kept his herds. In warning Odysseus begged his crew not to land but they were tired and longed for repast. For two months strong storms kept them on that island and when their food supplies had ran out Odysseus made prayers to the gods and they put him into a deep slumber.
When he awoke, to his horror, he found that his crew had slaughtered some of the great sun god’s cattle and he feared what he knew was sure to come. After setting sail Zues assailed their ship with a great tempest and struck it with lightning killing all but Odysseus, who clung to the mast and after narrowly escaping Charybdis once again washed up on the shores of Ogygia.
*Notes based off reading The Odyssey by Homer